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Straightforward Weis addresses Mendoza

Katie Perry | Thursday, March 24, 2005

Perhaps influenced by the ambience of his surroundings, Charlie Weis marketed himself with such slogans as “I’m a bottom-line kind of guy” and “I’m not big on making excuses” at the Mendoza College of Business Wednesday.

Candidly speaking at a discussion sponsored by the Notre Dame Marketing Club, the new Irish head football coach projected his frank and open personality to more than 50 students, faculty and staff members. The forum at the Jordan Auditorium marked the latest in a blitz of Weis question-and-answer sessions held on campus so far this semester.

Before opening up the floor to inquiries, Weis addressed the audience from the floor – not the stage – and refused a microphone, which he deemed “tacky.”

In a signature showing of his guileless language, the class of 1978 Notre Dame alumnus and former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots advised audience members to “seize the moment” and make the most of life’s fleeting opportunities.

“What if the day I met my wife I wouldn’t have talked to her? Well, I would have a lot more money, but I would be unhappy,” Weis said.

Further illustrating his point, Weis discussed the ambitious move in 1989 that would eventually catapult his career as a football coach. It was in this year that the determined Weis offered to work for the New York Giants without pay. Nine months later, Weis was hired as an assistant by legendary coach Bill Parcells.

“Hard work can only get you so far,” Weis said. “You’re going to need opportunities and make the most of them.”

Weis expressed a desire to “make the most” of the opportunity of coaching at Notre Dame.

One way to achieve this goal is through finding and attracting talent for his team, he said. Weis likened the recruiting process to common business strategy by explaining the three most important techniques in enlisting athletes: selling the school, selling the coaching staff and building relationships.

For Weis, the first two proved easier than the last. Because of the limited time to recruit players, – he began the process in December – he found himself making over 50 phone calls a day to “just about everyone in the country.”

The number of telephone conversations may not have translated to what one would consider enduring, personal relationships, but they did lend themselves to Weis’ straightforward and up-front style. Conversations ended after just three minutes if a recruit showed little or no interest, Weis said.

Weis expressed a desire to learn more about the various departments and areas of study at Notre Dame so he can translate this knowledge into a form of leverage for courting potential players.

With regard to his future aspirations, Weis plans on a successful run at Notre Dame.

“I plan to retire from here after my sixth-grade son graduates [from Notre Dame],” Weis said.